NHL Game Summary - Atlanta at NY Islanders
(Saturday, December 1st)
Final Score: Atlanta 4, NY Islanders 0
Uniondale, NY (Sports Network) - Kari Lehtonen made a tremendous return to the league, stopping 33 shots to shut out the Islanders in his first game back in six weeks, as the Atlanta Thrashers downed New York, 4-0.
Lehtonen picked up his first shutout of the season, and the eighth of his career. He lost his first four decisions of the season before the Thrashers placed him on injured reserve with a groin injury. He showed no signs of rust on Saturday, though, as the Islanders couldn't solve the Finnish goaltender.
Ilya Kovalchuk scored the eventual game-winner only 34 seconds into the game for Atlanta, which stemmed a three-game slide. Eric Boulton, Marian Hossa and Slava Kozlov all scored first-period goals for the Thrashers, and Lehtonen made them stand up.
"He's a huge part of our team and we're really excited he's back," said Kovalchuk of Lehtonen. "He's an NHL-level goalie and he played a huge game for us. When you feel your goalie is on top of his game, it gives the team a lot of confidence and we're not afraid to make a mistake."
Wade Dubielewicz let in four scores on 30 shots for the Islanders, who have dropped three of four.
Kovalchuk's score from the left circle in the first minute put the Isles in a 1-0 hole.
"For some reason, we got out of our system," said New York forward Bill Guerin. "Right off the bat, we fell behind. I think we started pressing and when you start pressing like that and you come out of your system, it just gets worse."
The Thrashers scored twice in less than a minute to give Atlanta some breathing room. Boulton picked up his first score of the season by flipping in a rebound at 6:12. Hossa's score came on a quick break, as he sent a wrister past Dubielewicz for a 3-0 lead at 7:02 of the first.
Kozlov's goal with just 13 seconds left in the period wrapped up the scoring, and was all the Thrashers would need on a night when Lehtonen stood tall.
Neither team scored on the power play. Atlanta failed to convert on any of it's six chances. whole the Isles went 0-for-4...The Islanders managed only 14 shots in the first two periods, only five in the second period alone. New York had 19 shots in the third period.
12/02 00:31:49 ET